The national theme is relevant in Kazakhstan today, and probably will be relevant as long as many nationalities live here. That is, always.

People argue with foam at the mouth, but at the same time, often using the same words, they put different meanings or different emotional connotations into them.

Let’s take the word “nationalism”.

Some consider this word an insult, others call themselves nationalists with pride.

Which of them is right?

Here’s what Wikipedia says:

“Nationalism (fr. nationalisme) is an ideology and policy direction, the fundamental principle of which is the thesis about the value of the nation as the highest form of social unity, its primacy in the state—forming process.”

As you can see, the description is very vague.

There is not a word here about belittling or oppressing other nationalities.

But at the same time, the words sound: “the value of the nation as the highest form of social unity, its primacy in the state-forming process,” that is, nationalists realize themselves first of all, for example, Kazakhs or Russians, and only then Kazakhstanis. That is, in the event of a conflict of interests between an ethnic group and the state, they will be guided by the interests of their nationality, not their state.

If we understand the word “nationalism” in this way, then I am inclined to consider it a negative phenomenon that harms our country.

But what should we call those people who consider it their duty to develop their nationality without interfering with other nationalities, but on the contrary, promoting equality and friendship between them? Who wants to preserve their language, their traditions, their culture within our country and at the same time in no way prevent representatives of other nationalities from doing the same. For example, there are dozens of national cultural centers in our country. All of them were created with the aim of uniting representatives of various diasporas in our country to preserve and develop their national culture. Can they be considered “nationalists”, harming our country? Is nationalism evil in this form? I don’t think so. I think that identifying themselves as German, Russian, Chechen and so on is their sacred right. They should not hide or be ashamed of their nationality. On the contrary, let them be proud and develop as an ethnic group. Such an aspiration should be, if not encouraged, then certainly not suppressed.

But on one condition.

If representatives of all nationalities recognize the supremacy of the interests of our common state – the Republic of Kazakhstan – over the interests of their ethnic group and the interests of other states. This means that a Russian citizen of Kazakhstan should protect the interests of Kazakhstan in conflicts with Russia (I say purely theoretically, God forbid, it comes to this), and a German should root for the Kazakhstanis, not for the Germans.

The same applies to the Kazakhs themselves. The interests of Kazakhstanis should be above the interests of Kazakhs separately. Therefore, one of the Kazakhs who says that the Kazakhs should be the hosts in Kazakhstan, and all other peoples should be guests and have correspondingly fewer rights than the Kazakhs, is no longer a nationalist, but a chauvinist.

This is how Wikipedia describes this concept:

“Chauvinism (French chauvinisme) is an ideology, the essence of which is to preach national superiority in order to justify the right to discrimination and oppression of other peoples.”

Thus, I believe that for clarity and uniformity of understanding, we all need to clearly separate these two concepts.

“Nationalism” should be perceived as a positive phenomenon, the essence of which boils down to the development of one’s nationality, without infringing on other nationalities and recognizing the supremacy of state interests over narrowly ethnic ones.

“Chauvinism” should be condemned and prohibited by law (now it is), since our state ideology cannot support the superiority of one ethnic group and the oppression of others.

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